Virgin of Montserrat

Virgin of Montserrat
The Virgin of Montserrat, or La Moreneta in its setting
Model of the Virgin of Montserrat

The Virgin of Montserrat is a statue of the Virgin Mary and infant Christ venerated at the Santa Maria de Montserrat monastery in the Montserrat mountain in Catalonia. It is one of the black Madonnas of Europe, hence its familiar Catalan name, la Moreneta ("The little dark-skinned one"). Believed by some to have been carved in Jerusalem in the early days of the Church, it is more likely a Romanesque sculpture in wood from the late 12th century.

Legend has it that the Benedictine monks could not move the statue to construct their monastery, choosing to instead build around it. The statue's sanctuary is located at the rear of the chapel, where an altar of gold surrounds the icon, and is now a site of pilgrimage.

Upon his recovery from battle wounds, Ignatius of Loyola visited the Benedictine monastery of Montserrat (March 25, 1522), where he laid down his military accoutrements before the image. Then he led a period of asceticism before later founding the Society of Jesus.

On September 11, 1881, Pope Leo XIII declared the virgin of Montserrat patroness of Catalonia (Saint George is another patron saint.)

The hymn to the Virgin of Montserrat, known as Virolai and sung every day by the Escolania de Montserrat, begins with the words: "Rosa d’abril, Morena de la serra..." (April rose, dusky lady of the mountain chain...). Therefore this virgin is sometimes also known as “Rosa d’abril”.[1]

See also

References and external links

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